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Evolution/microevolution

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Question
hello,can you tell me,is evolution a science? from what i understand science makes predictions about the future. for example ,the theory of relativity was proven true in 1919 after the eclispe of the sun.what predictions has evolution made about the future. i also understand that for something to be science it has to be observed . can you give examples of macroevolution being observed,not microevolution. thanks for your help.

Answer

First, yes indeed evolution is a science.... and interestingly every single branch of the other sciences support it, with not one shred of scientific evidence against it....(everything from comparative anatomy to zoology).    Not one.  Nothing.  Zilch.  The scientific evidence for evolution is not only overwhelming, but meets the criteria of a capital punishment court case.... the evidence not just overwhelming... (It for sure is) but as well, it is "Clear and Convincing"...the highest of all standards in law.  So, evolution is as true as gravity is true.

Evolution certainly has had its cases of predictions.... Two come to mind.

1.  There was a flower in South America, with a rather different shaped corolla, than most.  Darwin predicted, (not at the time of course.... he really didn't know what he had in all the stuff he brought back in the 1830's) that there was  a bird that would have a downward facing bill,exactly the shape of that corolla, to be able to pollinate that flower.  It was later found to be a hummingbird, which are only in the Americas.  Darwin had seen them in South America.

2.  Someone wrote  to him about a night blooming orchid with a 1 foot long (!!!!!! read that again) corolla in Madagascar.  Darwin predicted that there had to be a moth that as well had a 1 foot tubal tongue that was the pollinator to this orchid.  Darwin never went there as far as I am aware, but predicted the insect.  In the mean time, almost 90 percent of the rain forests in Madagascar had been destroyed, and likely taking the habitat of that moth with it.  Alas, no.  50+ years later, in 1903, the moth was found.  Go to bugguide.net, and look up Morgan's Sphinx Moth.  There ought to be  photo of that moth showing its long tongue.   (Part of that was shown in a recent Cosmos program, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, being shown now on Nat Geo, and Fox.  Do watch whatever episodes are left, and see if you can catch any re-runs... hugely well done.) Since no pollinating birds fly at night, Darwin predicted it had to be a moth.  So, yes.  Science, and evolution do make predictions....not in the way something might look in the future, but prediction on relationships. How something might look 2 million years for now is called "science fiction".

Macro evolution.

First, if you don't have a "bucket list" do put on it, not only Italy, but The Galapagos Islands as well.

As a tourist you are not allowed on just any ole island, but are relegated to the ones they allow you to visit.  Ecuador, who owns them, has allowed a British couple to spend more that 25 years on one island recording what has happened to generations and generations of several species of Darwin's Finches.  Two things interesting they discovered:

a.  When the weather is a drought, the only seeds that survive are those with a very tough shell.  And thus chicks hatched with a very thick and strong bill, will be the only ones in that nest that will survive as adults, even tho thin billed ones are hatched as well, in every nest.  While the drought continues, almost all of that species of finch will have the thicker bill on this island.  When the rains return, the thin billed  baby birds will survive too since plants with less tough shells as well survive.  Note, however, that nature has provided a fall back position, when drought again returns.

b.  Another example on the Galapagos (I went there...walked where Darwin walked.  It was fabulous !!!).  Some finch have learned to cannibalize other birds.... and then teach it to their fledglings.  This is not normal behavior, but evolution favored this particular bird because it was adapting to its seed poor environment.  It pecks at the legs of very large nesting birds... Blue Footed Boobies, and others.  It pecks until the birds' bare legs bleed, and then drinks the blood, and brings its babies and teaches them the trick too.  This particular bunch of finches on this one particular island now feed on blood exclusively, yet if you captured several, and put them on another island with no large birds, it would again eat seeds and grains. Evolution is all about adapting to the environment.

2.  Macroevolution more..... In the 1700's, in England was a grey/black/white speckled moth, that usually lived on trees that were predominately white/grey.  A black/grey morph was occasionally hatch, but because it stood out against the predominately white bark of the tree, birds could easily see it, and it was usually quickly eaten.  But notice the moth did carry the dark morph gene, and it never really went away.  As the Industrial Revolution in England continued, and added more and more soot to the atmosphere, those trees' bark became increasingly darker, and yes, you guess it, more and more of the black ones were surviving, as time was going on, and less and less of the predominately white was were surviving.  Then, in the early 1950's, London had a killer smog, and it, along with many countries around the world were now going to try to lessen the air pollution....at least in the cities.  From the 1950 to today, 60+ years later, lots of that black on those white trunked trees have been washed off by rain, and now the white speckled moth is now predominant today, just as it was in the 1700 and before... for thousands of years.  This was over  200 year period, that the majority of moths went from white/grey, to black/grey, back to white/grey.

The rule in evolution is adapt or die.  And evolution isn't interested at all in the INDIVIDUAL, but rather the species as a whole.  And when the environment changes so fast that succeeding generations have no chance to adapt, they all die, as with what happened in the Permian Extinction.  98% of all species  on this planet are now extinct, simply because the environment changed too fast for most all of them to survive.

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Elisabeth DeWald

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I've been a public school teacher for 26 years. My major was history, but along the way, picked up minors in math, biology, zoology, and other life sciences. My whole life has been on one side of the desk or the other. Husband and Dad were both MDs so science and medicine was a natural for me. My dad once told me that I knew more medicine than most doctors. I can easily answer almost any life science question, most history questions, and lots of medical questions.

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Taught math,history, science, geology, chemistry, biology in a public school setting

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None at the present time

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none

Education/Credentials
Majored in history in college, minored in all those subject mentioned. Masters degree in education. Grad courses, but no degree in religious studies, U of Chicago, Divinity School.

Awards and Honors
Award at my one of my colleges of Best Student, in History as a year end award.

Past/Present Clients
I tutored for two years in math. Math however, if not used daily fades. My area of competency is in honors first year algebra, at this point.

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